Article by Anthony O’Dell
While Capsule, Market Week & Magic are household names in the fashion industry, Canada has been missing out on a huge opportunity to promote and sell Canadian designers. Inland, which held it’s second season a couple weeks ago, is looking to fill this gap by offering a diverse mix of Canadian brands featuring more established brands such as Travis Taddeo & 18 Waits as well as up & coming brands including Mary Young and Opelle. “My goal is to build a community that focuses on the business and buying aspect of fashion and design, including both shoppers and retail buyers”, Sarah Power (Founder of Inland) says.
I got a chance to chat with some of the brands that attended and asked them about the impact Inland has had on their business and what needs to be done to take the next step.
How does Inland stand out from other trade shows?
Mary (Mary Young): As a Canadian designer I want to reach the Canadian audience and demographic as much as possible, it’s hard to penetrate the Canadian market without being involved in pop ups and events. The location [Toronto] was very reassuring to me. Having a close location gave me the freedom and reassurance to design the space, I was able to bring/create most of the fixtures at a minimal cost.
Beth (Opelle Creative): We are committed to supporting local talent and we enjoy the collective spirit amongst fellow Canadian designers. It is also more accessible financially than most U.S. trade shows. And certainly more conveniently located!
What Impact did the event have on your business?
Raphael (Travis Taddeo): It brought us new clients and helped us reconnect with older ones. It helps us promote our e-shop, connect with other designers and meet new potential buyers.
Brittany (Brittany Watcher): It was helpful in making connections to further the development and expansion of our up & coming brand in Canada.
What does Inland need to do to take the next step?
Daniel (18 Waits): More vendors, a location with more walk-by traffic, more menswear, more established brands (Krane, Jenny Bird, etc.) and more sponsors.
Mary (Mary Young): My personal opinion on how to improve would be to encourage designers and companies participating to bring more of a brand and aesthetic to their booth. I know it’s only a two-day event but stepping up the overall look and aesthetic of the venue, specifically with the booths would be great. I think having a more professional and cohesive look would encourage more consumers and media/buyers to attend.
Only in their second season, Inland managed to double foot traffic as well as bring in buyers from retailers such as Shopgirls and Indigo. With a potential international pop-up shop in the works, Inland is laying the foundation to have a lasting affect on the Canadian market. Overall, Inland seems to be well on its way to establishing itself as a household name in Canada, which is just what the industry needs.